The (N12, C12) charge-exchange reaction at 175 MeV/u was developed as a novel probe for studying the isovector spin giant monopole resonance (IVSMR), whose properties are important for better understanding the bulk properties of nuclei and asymmetric nuclear matter. This probe, now available through the production of N12 as a secondary rare-isotope beam, is exothermic, is strongly absorbed at the surface of the target nucleus, and provides selectivity for spin-transfer excitations. All three properties enhance the excitation of the IVSMR compared to other, primarily light-ion, probes, which have been used to study the IVSMR thus far. The Zr90(N12,C12) reaction was measured and the excitation energy spectra up to about 70 MeV for both the spin-transfer and non-spin-transfer channels were deduced separately by tagging the decay by γ emission from the C12 ejectile. Besides the well-known Gamow-Teller and isobaric analog transitions, a clear signature of the IVSMR was identified. By comparing with the results from light-ion reactions on the same target nucleus and theoretical predictions, the suitability of this new probe for studying the IVSMR was confirmed.
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